In an age when custom bitters and unusual infusions are de rigueur in cocktail bars around the world, it’s refreshing to see a less-is-more approach emerge from one of Europe’s top mixologists.
“There’s a lot to be said for simplicity,” says Dimi Lezinska, who has been impressing spirits lovers with his elegant cocktail compositions as global brand ambassador for Grey Goose Vodka. “If I do use a complicated technique, then I try to balance it with simplicity elsewhere in the recipe,” says Lezinska. “My cocktails have a silk-like texture, and to achieve this, I will typically use only four ingredients—a maximum of five.”
Lezinska has spent 18 years bartending, stirring sips at some of London’s better-known bars, including Grill, Mash, Lab and Eclipse.
Unlike the U.S., Lezinska says, “London does not have a strong tipping culture, which I believe is reflected in the quality of service. People have to work for a tip.” He cites the city’s cultural diversity—reflected in its bartenders—as a source of inspiration, and their “many different approaches to flavor matching and the types of ingredients used.”
While Lezinska says his travels as global ambassador offer him the chance to experiment with many new ingredients, “I take my inspiration from the occasion, the environment in which I’m making a cocktail and the person for whom I’m preparing it.”
“I resist the temptation to overcomplicate things,” Lezinska says. “It won’t make a cocktail any more interesting.”